Chocolate Craqueline Mousse Cake

ByMary Bergin via logo

— -- This cake makes frequent appearances on the Spago menu. It is a spectacular cake, not difficult to prepare, and will be a most impressive addition to your repertoire. The craqueline that we use in the restaurant is supplied by large companies in large quantities. However, because craqueline tastes so much like crushed sugar cones, we decided to use the sugar cones for the recipe. Sugar cones can be purchased in many supermarkets.

Equipment: 10- x 3-inch round cake pan or 10-inch springform pan medium heat-proof bowl rolling pin long serrated knife 10-inch cardboard round soft pastry brush long spatula pastry bag with No. 3 star tip wide spatula


Chocolate Chiffon Cake, 10- x 3-inch round cake pan Peanut Butter Craqueline Filling 5 ounces milk chocolate, cut into small pieces 8 sugar cones 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter about 1/4 cup Sugar Syrup 1/2 recipe Chocolate Mousse 1 cup Ganache


1. Bake the Chocolate Chiffon Cake as directed in a 10 x 3-inch round cake pan until a cake tester gently inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

2. Make the craqueline filling: In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, enclose the cones in a plastic bag and run a rolling pin over the bag, crushing the cones into very small pieces. Remove the chocolate from the heat, stir in the peanut butter, then fold in the crushed cones. Set aside.

3. Assemble the cake: With a long serrated knife, cut into three layers. Saving the most level layer for the top, set the first layer on a 10-inch cardboard round. With an offset spatula, spread the craqueline filling over the cake. Set the second layer on the craqueline filling, pressing down gently to secure. With a soft pastry brush, brush the Sugar Syrup over the second layer then spread the mousse over, leveling with a long clean spatula, making it as smooth as possible. Top with the last layer and refrigerate until the mousse sets, about 30 minutes.

4. When ready to frost, remove the cake from the refrigerator and brush away any excess crumbs from the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, frost the top of the cake only with the Ganache. (The sides remain unfrosted so that the layering effect is visible). Spoon the remaining Ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 3 star tip and decorate the cake with rosettes. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator, run the blade of a long sharp knife under the cake, then slip a wide spatula directly under the cake and transfer to a clean plate. Refrigerate until needed, removing about 30 minutes before serving.

To prepare ahead: Through step 3, the cake can be made 1 day ahead. Through step 4, the cake can be assembled early in the day it is to be served.

Makes one 10-inch cakeServes: 12 to 14

Preparation of Chocolate Chiffon Cake:

Mary’s Spago chocolate book wouldn’t be complete without including the Chocolate Chiffon Cake. This is a light, versatile cake that is the foundation for many cakes we serve at Spago. The cake freezes well, so if you want to use only one of the layers, the second layer can be double wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for another time.

Equipment: two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans sifter electric mixer with 2 large bowls rubber spatula 9-inch cardboard round

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 eggs, separated 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 egg whites frosting of your choice


1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat with vegetable spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess flour. Set aside.

2. Sift together 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters, beat the egg yolks at high speed. Turn the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, water and vanilla. Gradually add the sifted ingredients and, when almost incorporated, turn the speed to medium and beat until well-combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

4. In another clean large bowl, with a whip or clean beaters, whip the 6 egg whites until soft peaks form. Start on medium speed and raise the speed as the peaks begin to form. Gradually pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and whip until the whites are shiny and firm, but not stiff. With a rubber spatula, fold one-fourth of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then scrape the chocolate mixture back into the whites, quickly folding until completely incorporated.

5. Scrape into the prepared pans and bake until the edges of the cake pull away from the pan and a tester gently inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack. To remove, run a sharp knife around the inside of each pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a rack to cool completely. Place a 9-inch cardboard round on the cake and invert the cake onto it.

6. There are many ways to serve this cake. You can dust rounds with sifted confectioners’ sugar, cut them into slices and serve them with Drambouie-flavored Creme Anglaise spooned under or over each slice. Or you can build a layer cake using the two layers, or cut each in half horizontally and frost them with the frosting of your choice.

To prepare ahead: Through step 5, the cake can be made 1 day ahead.

Preparation of Sugar Syrup:

The simple syrup is a staple in all pastry kitchens, used to poach fruit, make sorbets and moisten cakes. It can also be used to sweeten iced drinks.

Equipment: large saucepan

Ingredients: 3 cups water 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar


1. In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar, and stir to mix well. Over medium heat, bring to a boil and continue to boil until the mixture is clear and the sugar is completely dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool. When cool, pour into a jar, cover and refrigerate. Use as needed.

To prepare ahead: The sugar syrup will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator almost indefinitely.

Preparation of Chocolate Mousse:

Though it’s commonly known as mousse, at Spago we call this versatile dessert a chocolate charlotte. Regardless of the title, it’s delicious. After the mousse sets up, it can be used as a filling for a layer cake or for our crepes. Or if you prefer spoon it into champagne glasses over fresh raspberries.

Equipment: medium and large heat-proof bowls electric mixer with 2 large bowls small saucepan whisk rubber spatula

Ingredients: 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces 3 cups heavy cream 6 egg yokes 3/4 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup water


1. In a medium heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate When almost melted, turn off the heat and let the chocolate continue to melt completely, stirring occasionally. Keep the bowl over the warm water until ready to use.

2. Meanwhile, in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip or beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.

3. Place the egg yolks in a large heat-proof bowl and set aside.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes, making sugar syrup. Whisking constantly, pour the boiling syrup over the egg yolks. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and immediately start to whisk, whisking until the mixture is thick and white in color. The mixture should be hot to the touch.

5. Remove the bowl from the heat and, working quickly, scrape the egg mixture into another clean large bowl of the electric mixer. On medium-high speed, using whip or beaters, beat until the volume has doubled and the bottom of the bowl is completely cool to the touch. Turn the speed to low, scrape in the warm melted chocolate, and continue to beat until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a rubber spatula, very carefully and gently fold in half the whipped cream. Then fold in the remaining cream. The mixture should resemble softly whipped cream. This can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, until needed. If the mixture seems a little runny, the chocolate may have been too warm, but after refrigerating for an hour or so, it will be fine.

To prepare ahead: Through step 5, the mousse can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Remove about 15 minutes before needed and whisk vigorously with a wire whip for 1 minute to restore its original texture.

Preparation of the Ganache:

Ganache can be spread over a cake layer as a frosting or used in sauces. The ganache will thicken as it chills, but it can be brought back to the proper consistency by leaving at room temperature or by setting over a pan of simmering water. Untoasted pecans, toasted unblanched almonds or hazelnuts can be chopped and folder into ganache. (Hazelnuts need to be peeled after toasting, then chopped). If desired, finely chipped orange zest or vanilla extract can be added to flavor the Ganache.

Equipment: medium heat-proof bowl small saucepan whisk

Ingredients: 3/4 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces 1 cup heavy cream


1. Place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 2 or 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth and shiny. Cool slightly and add about 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired. Refrigerate, covered.

3. Use as needed.

To prepare ahead: Through step 2, Ganache can be made as much as 1 to 2 weeks ahead and refrigerated.

Recipe copyright ©1999 by Mary Bergin

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